Michael Boyd to Step Down as Artistic Director of Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company

News   Michael Boyd to Step Down as Artistic Director of Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company Michael Boyd, artistic director of Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company since July 2002, will step down by the end of 2012, after ten years at the helm. Executive director Vikki Heyward has announced her intention to leave at the same time. According to a press statement, they will be "leaving the Company in good heart and the way open for a new pairing to take the RSC forward into the future."

Boyd commented, "2011 has been our most ambitious year since I was appointed Artistic Director in July 2002. We have opened the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre to unusual acclaim. Our new home is already much loved by the public and critics alike and has won many major awards. It's arguably the best theatre for the contemporary production of Shakespeare in the world. We also reopened the Swan, and quickly remembered how much we had missed our beautiful mid-scale theatre. We celebrated the 50th birthday of the RSC with our most successful season in both theatres, at the box office, and in the press, for decades, We took our long ensemble repertoire to New York, and were hailed 'the theatrical event of the New York Summer,' housed in our extraordinary travelling facsimile of the new RST that only our workshops could have built.We launched the World Shakespeare Festival, years in the planning, breathtaking in scope, and the lynchpin of the UK’s cultural programme to celebrate the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Next month we open Matilda The Musical, eight years in the making, to a very strong advance at the Cambridge Theatre; together with our Stratford winter season of a thrilling, physical re-telling of the legend of Robin Hood, and a three play celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible in the Swan. This is my tenth AGM as Artistic Director, and next year will be my last. I have always said that it would take ten years to make a genuine difference in the life and the soul of the company, and though ten years will not be enough to achieve all that I would like, it will be time for me to pass the challenges on to a new Artistic Director." Heyward added, "I am immensely proud to have led the team that built arguably the finest theatre for Shakespeare in the world, which is loved by both artists and audiences.  Delivering a £112.8m transformation project, which included a multi-award-winning theatre building, on time and on budget, has been one of the greatest achievements of my career... Michael and I have decided to leave at the same time because that is the right decision for the company.  This is a planned and slow departure with a progressive transformation to a new leadership who will take the company forward for the next decade."

The RSC's new chairman Nigel Hugill will now establish a selection committee, which he will chair and which will include members of the RSC board and at least one external appointee. The committee will identify an independent search firm or consultant to support the process. According to a press statement, "The Board hopes to be able to announce new appointments in the first quarter of next year, beginning with the role of Artistic Director, but not precluding simultaneous recruitment of the Executive Director."

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